How many employers ask about criminal records in application forms?

In 2018, Unlock surveyed 80 well-known national employers’ online application systems to assess their approaches to recruiting people with criminal records. We selected companies based on an in-house poll of large employers. We have now conducted a comparable survey in 2023, to explore whether practice has changed. Read the full report here. We found:   Overall, […]

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Updated: DBS filtering rules have changed

If you recruit for jobs that are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act you will be familiar with filtering. Since May 2013, some cautions and convictions are automatically ‘filtered’ from standard and enhanced DBS certificates and job applicants are legally entitled to withhold filtered cautions and convictions from employers. The existing rules apply to […]

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Unlock publish toolkit to help local authorities ban the box

Delivering everything from social care, housing and planning and waste collection, to licensing, registrar services and pest control, local authorities need to recruit for vast and varied needs. With 343 local authorities in England and 22 in Wales the sector provides employment for more than 2 million people. Every employer wants to recruit the best […]

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Recruiting with conviction at a time of national crisis

As the coronavirus spreads in the UK and government advice means millions of people are staying home to stay safe, there is an urgent need for people to help with key roles. The NHS are looking for 250,000 volunteers, while social care providers, supermarkets and other essential services are boosting their workforce. We’ve been contacted […]

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PriceWaterhouseCoopers fined under GDPR for inappropriate use of consent

The Greek arm of PriceWaterhouseCoopers have been fined €150,000 after an investigation found they were unlawfully relying on employees’ consent to process personal data. PWC claimed to be relying on consent but data was in fact processed to comply with contract obligations. By allowing employees to believe that their data was being processed with their […]

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A question of fairness: John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) includes Waitrose and John Lewis. Their online application form asks applicants to indicate whether they have an unspent conviction. The question is compulsory. Selecting ‘Yes’ from the drop-down menu leads to the request for details. The application doesn’t explain why this information is necessary, or what will happen to it. […]

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A question of fairness: Greggs

Greggs’ Fresh Start programme has been running since 2012. In that time they say they have employed one hundred people with previous convictions and that 32% are now in some form of management role. The Fresh Start programme recruits people in prison who are eligible to work outside on ROTL, and is also open to […]

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A question of fairness: Spar

Some applications for retail positions in Spar stores ask about criminal records. We contacted Spar to understand why and the Head of HR confirmed:  …we do not ask applicants questions regarding Criminal Records and we do not need to (given the nature of our work) undertake DBS checks. It’s refreshing to see a retailer assess […]

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Asking for self-disclosure during recruitment – is it necessary?

Asking applicants to self-disclose criminal records information is seen by most employers as part and parcel of the standard recruitment process. Whether it’s a tick box on the application form or part of pre-employment checks, asking has been the norm. The advent of the GDPR means employers need be clear about the purpose of self-disclosure […]

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